by Melissa Agocs
Every spring, the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, abbreviated CRCT, are administered to students in Georgia, USA. The CRCT is designed to measure how well students acquire the skills and knowledge described in the Georgia Performance Standards.
Students are tested in reading, English/language arts and mathematics. This summary will concentrate on the reading results from the Clarke County School District in Georgia. The CRCT is given every spring to all students in grades 1-8, and the students included in this study were first through eighth graders during the time of the study.
A longitudinal study is a type of study that follows the same subjects over time. Clarke County students who used the Fast ForWord products generally started with the Fast ForWord® Language or Fast ForWord® Literacy series, with students then progressing through the Fast ForWord® Reading series. Students started on the products during different years, with some starting as early as the 2006-2007 school year, and others starting aslate as the 2010-2011 school year.
The first wave of Fast ForWord participants at Clarke County started using the products in the fall of 2006 and made statistically significant improvements on the spring 2007 CRCT with continued improvements in 2008 and the following years. Students in the second wave started using the products in the fall of 2007 and made statistically significant improvements on the spring 2008 CRCT.
After a third group started in 2008 school year, the group’s CRCT scores significantly increased and then continued to go up. Similarly, students who began using the products in 2009 and 2010 also started to show increases in their reading scores after Fast ForWord participation.
Each cohort exhibits a similar pattern in that after Fast ForWord participation started, on average, the group showed a steady increase in their CRCT reading scores with each passing year.
Looking at the students who started using Fast ForWord products in 2010, there was an increase in the percentage of students reaching reading proficiency, with 55% of students who were not proficient in 2010 crossing the proficiency threshold in 2011.
In addition to longitudinal results, data were also analyzed for certain demographic groups, including students who were receiving Special Education services and students with Limited English Proficiency. Both groups achieved statistically significant improvements on the CRCT Reading Test after Fast ForWord participation.
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